Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

It was a strange week with the first half being cool and dreary and the second half being bearably summery, lending itself to two drastically different musical moods within me. The albums that I chose to listen to this week reflect both ends of my spectrum, from low key mood pieces to high energy rock 'n roll. It's also a collection dominated by familiar favorites thanks to exciting new reissues, new recordings, and new additions to the collection. Hopefully there's something on here to fit your many musical moods as well. Enjoy.

Natural Snow Buildings - Night Coercion Into the Company of Witches: A four album set recorded during 2007-08, just before the release of their of epic 7+ hour Daughter of Darkness. It has a similar vibe musically, and fits in with those recordings, being heavier on the drone than some of their more accessible albums. Each album side is basically one song, all of them leading into the next song, which is typical of their releases. One of the things that I truly love about them is how they are able to tell stories in the subtle complexities of their songs. At their best, their albums feel like novels, and this is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Death and Vanilla - To Where the Wild Things Are: This is the third album from the Swedish dream pop band and one of the finest albums of the year so far. A blend of "Pygmalion" era Slowdive neo-psychedellia with Mazzy Star inspired dreaminess, this is the kind of record that never fails to produce comforting feelings and wonderful visions. This is a perfect headphones record, or for listening in a dim room on a rainy day. Highly recommended, as I seek out their previous recordings and continue to enjoy repeated listens of this one.

The Rolling Stones - The Marquee Club Live in 1971: The Stones were at their most decadent in the early '70s with landmark rock albums like Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street and Goat's Head Soup and this newly released set captures them in rare form. The energy on this performance is unmatched and possibly the best live record of theirs that I've heard. Keith's guitar is perfectly dirty and Mick is simply magnetic. This is a must for fans!

Goblin Rebirth - Goblin Rebirth: The debut album from the Italian progressive metal band was released this week and I was drawn to it not only by the cover but also the title as I'm currently steeped in goblin thoughts. This is a solid instrumental album that reminds me of later day Porcupine Tree without the vocals. For some people I know that would be a plus, but I do enjoy vocals, especially on heavier albums to prevent them from sounding repetitive. Worth a spin if you're into the genre. 

Ryan Adams - Burn in the Night: Still on my Ryan Adams kick and this is his latest single. Like a lot of his releases over the past year, these two and half songs have an 80's summer vibe. It's nice to hear him having a little fun even if he seems at his best when he sounds down and out. If the title track were released in '86 it would have been a stone cold hit. It's still enjoyable now. 

Iggy Pop - Psychophonic Medicine: This box set of Iggy rarities features the early '80s, post Stooges phase when Iggy was still the wild child of the punk. These are songs that really bridge the punk movement with the New Wave movement. He lends his manic energy to more New Wave sounding tunes, making them heavier and more chaotic than anything that was radio friendly, though hearing these versions, it's clear to me that if had been poster-boy pretty, Iggy would've been bigger than Billy Idol at the time. Definitely a must for fans, a fantastic set. 

Neil Young - The Monsanto Years: Given the blunt political message of the songs on Neil's latest album, it's no wonder he's supporting Bernie for Prez. He rails against the greed and ever-expanding reach of corporate American into our political system and agriculture, particularly and repeatedly attacking Monsanto (and rightfully so). Thankfully I agree with the messages he's spouting, otherwise I'm not sure this album would be digestible. While it's great to see an artist stand up for what he believes and bring politics back to folk music, it doesn't necessarily lend itself to repeated listens. That said, every fan should listen to it at least once, we deserve Neil at least that much respect. 

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